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Starting a trucking Business

Discussion in 'Semi' started by Brennerman, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. Brennerman

    Brennerman Member

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    Hello,

    I am looking for input about starting a trucking company with using the Tesla Semi. Looking for input and opinions (hopeful from truck drivers as well).

    I see an opportunity for the demand of drivers is high, and eventually Tesla will have their FS in full use and when that happens I want to have my fleet already in place.
     
  2. ThomasD

    ThomasD Member

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    OTR or Day Cab trucks. If I was to start a trucking company I would purchase used trucks and trailers. Then as I build my company I would purchase new trucks. You would have to install Mega chargers at your depot. Cost of Mega chargers? Range while towing a large trailer or load in Winter. Has Tesla towed loads in the north in wintertime to see what kind of range reduction it will have. Charging while on the road if necessary. What will be your companies operating radius 100 miles 400 miles a 1000 miles. Will your trucks be operating on 8 hour shifts. Will it be a 24 hour op. Will trucks be rotated between shifts and people. Will you have enough time to charge the Semi before it goes out again if you have to do turn and burns. If you can meet all of your companies transportation needs with the Tesla Semi then purchase it.
     
  3. lowtek

    lowtek Member

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    No idea about the financial dynamics of a trucking company .. but I bet the competition is ferocious .. you're going to have to really do your homework to see if the Tesla Semi can compete.

    I have no doubt about what the Telsa Semi brings to the table for big companies like FedEx or UPS .. but ultimately a small business has to complete on dollars and quality of service .. the "save the planet" platform won't get you business .. might get you a tax break though ..
     
  4. Brennerman

    Brennerman Member

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    Thanks guys! I appreciate the responses!
     
  5. Alset Srotom

    Alset Srotom Member

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    You are better off starting a warehousing service and leave the OBL to more established players.
     
  6. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Regarding the trucking business, I'm reminded of something I read in one of Warren Buffet's letters to shareholders many years back. At the time, Berkshire Hathaway owned a textile mill in New England, and the owners came to him with a capital upgrade they needed that would dramatically expand output. His reaction was that they better hope that upgrade wasn't essential to the business because it looked to him like an upgrade that wouldn't benefit the mill at all.

    I think his phrase was that none of the cost benefits were going to stick to the mill's fingers - they were all going to flow through to the buyers / consumers of the mill's output.


    That's how I see trucking / transportation, and electric trucks more particularly. There will be a golden era while electric trucks are still ramping and replacing the existing fleet, where companies that shift to electric trucks can continue charging what they've been charging, or maybe a little less, and have most of the fuel savings stick to the truck owners fingers. In time though, as more and more companies electrify, the prices for transportation will fall until the margins in trucking are back to the margins in trucking as they exist today and anybody not using the new technology will be quickly out of business.
     
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  7. Brennerman

    Brennerman Member

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    That is where my mindset is, when their Autonomous driving is available, I would want to be at the forefront when that to use it.
     
  8. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    I’m in the trucking industry and if you think you’re going to be successful with the tesla semi, you’re severely mistaken.

    First off driverless trucks won’t be here for a good while, I’m fairly certain first gen semis will no longer be on the road when that kinda change happens. Just look at the current FSD stuff that’s happening.

    Second, it’s an extremely tight profit margin industry, unless you have a ton of cash to put in, it’s going to be difficult to make a profit because there’s a lot of bigger companies with far lower operating expenses ready to outbid you on freight rates.

    Third; It’s takes a while and it’s hard to build relationships, even harder to maintain them. Customers want reliability, if you manage to sign a customer, the LAST thing you want to do is use an unproven truck to haul their product. If you breakdown mid trip a few times, say goodbye to that customer.

    I’m a fleet manager, my job is to order new trucks to replace older trucks that no longer meet our our safety and reliability standard. Our entire fleet is made up of Volvo’s with an exception of one freightliner that we purchased for testing.

    The trucking industry is an empty pool, DEFINITELY avoid jumping in head first.
     
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  9. Brennerman

    Brennerman Member

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    Thank you, this is the kind of feedback I am looking for. If there is anything else you think I need to know please feel free (especially if you have doubts about this)

    At the moment I am getting my spreadsheets together to determine my cost per mile and grand total to get his started. Also getting in touch with some owner operators and getting their input as well.

    Well I am hoping their FSD is coming out sooner than what you described, I am not betting on it being out in the next few years either.
     
  10. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    There’s a lot more you need to know, things I don’t even know. I don’t know all the ins and outs.
    Good luck!
     
  11. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Active Member

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    I just saw a blurb about Elon mentioning Semi costs. Calculated it on using two trucks, but only one driver.

    Expected that to become normal, with only one driver leading one or more automatious trucks to vastly reduce the price of delivering goods.

    A platooning strategy.

    Technology is going to drive down the cost of trucking.

    Just as shipping used to use many stevedors to load and unload ships, now they just use crains to load and unload containers full of goods. The ships have gotten huge, capable of carrying hundreds of times more goods with a skeleton crew.
     
  12. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    For a certain part of the industry autonomous trucks can work, where the freight is taken from terminal to terminal in the same company.

    But there’s a large part where it just will not work. Deliveries to military bases where access roads are just gravel roads leading to middle of nowhere. Farms where it’s all dirt roads. companies receiving freight that have dirt lots, downtown deliveries no way will an autonomous truck be able to navigate the streets of downtown San Francisco.

    One driver leading a platoon of trucks? Ok when they get to a destination where they now have to take an exit, where are you gonna park those trucks until drivers take over? What if that driver has to stop to use the restroom, how do all the trucks follow to a truck stop?
    Elon knows as much about the trucking industry as I know about rocket science.
     
  13. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

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    Cabin heat will be a negligible contributor to consumption when talking moving big loads. Cabin heating need will be similar to current vehicles but the overall consumption of moving a big vehicle and.load will be much higher.

    The huge mass of the battery and regular long duration use will also mitigate battery warming needs.
     
  14. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Active Member

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    Instead of looking where electric platooning trucks will NOT work, switch to looking for areas where they WOULD work.

    Initially I believe electric trucks will be engaged for well known repetitive routes. Picking up loads at the docks and transporting them inland to hub warehouses. Those warehouses and docks can provide fast charging onsite, often while the trucks are being loaded and unloaded.

    Longer distance trucking (coast to coast) will probably stick with diesel trucks for the near future, but for all the short haul and urban routes the electric trucks should quickly take over.

    Imagine that soon city centers will ban diesel delivery trucks and busses. They are noisey and smell terrible. Also emit lots of unhealthy fumes. Electric and perhaps CNG will be all that is allowed into congested areas.
     
  15. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    Oooops I guess you should read my post again. I said nothing about electric trucks shortcomings vs diesel but rather the notion that AUTONOMOUS trucks are right around the corner because Elon Musk says so.
     
  16. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    No they don’t, with modern SCR and DEF emission systems they no longer emit that black smoke that made diesel trucks smelly.

    Our shop can have multiple trucks idling inside and the smell is nothing like it was 10 years ago with pre emission trucks.
     
  17. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

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    Not a popular observation here but getting the emissions outside the city is why China is pushing EVs.
    The idea they actually care about the environment is laughable. Last year ozone depleting gasses long banned were being measured in the atmosphere, turns out the gas was $100 a ton cheaper to make than the allowed stuff so China was using the banned stuff for spray insulation. I am thinking a ton of propellant goes a long ways.

    Point being I think in the reasonable term if you really want to get into electric trucking local is going to be the ticket. Find a progressive area willing to pay a little premium for your "green" services to get your start running predicable routs manually with electric trucks.

    The platooning semis across the open road and FSD terminal to terminal is pretty pie in the sky for now.

    Another angle is EV expansion is a market everyone wants a piece of and just in practical terms we know not everyone can make it, find a niche that limits how much competition you will face. If it is an obvious market someone will undercut and outspend you till they own it.
     
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